SUPPLIER TELLS COURT “MINISTER ASKED ME TO DO. I DID IT”
’’Minister asked me to do, I did it’’: Supplier tells court
Colombo, Dec. 28 (Daily Mirror)- Counsel appearing for the first suspect, owner of the company Isolez Biotech Pharma AG (Pvt) Ltd, involved in the substandard human immunoglobulin deal, told the court that he followed the instructions of the then Health Minister saying that “The Minister asked me to do, I did it”.
Counsel Jaliya Samarasinghe told this in Court before Maligakanda Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrame.
The Maligakanda Magistrate queried the CID whether former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had prior knowledge of the drug scam that involved over Rs. 01 billion of public money.
Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrama made this observation following counsel for two suspects in the case alleging that when their clients had mentioned the name of former Minister Keheliya Rambuwella as the person who had ordered them to carry out the deal of the substandard human immunoglobulin, the CID had failed to mention Minister Keheliya’s name in the statements of the suspects and had declined to do so.
Thereafter, the Magistrate ordered the CID to record further statements of the 1st and the 3rd suspects at the prison premises today.
The Magistrate also remarked that the suspects’ counsel should not make statements on hearsay but to make submissions before court if they have facts to submit.
At the onset of the inquiry Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Girihagama filing a further report on the CID investigations in court, pleaded to order the CID to record further statements from two officers, Vijith Gunasekera and Ms. A.M.P.K. Alweera of the NMRA.
The DSG also moved court to issue an order to the CID to get down Vijith Gunasekera who had migrated from Sri Lanka to record the statement.
DSG Girihagama stated that the Cabinet had given its approval to import the drug and filed an English copy of the approval in court and asked the CID to file a Sinhala translation of the same in court, if available.
She also stated that the lab investigations on the productions were not yet completed and moved for a further date to carry out the investigations.
Counsel Girighagama sought court permission to send the productions to the Government Analyst for his examination and to report to the court.
The DSG further asserted that the 1st suspect was not authorized to manufacture the questionable vaccine and the suspect was also not sanctioned to import chemicals, water cleansing drugs or bottles which he had already imported.
She said that the investigations were yet to be completed and to remand the suspects till then.
However, counsel for the 6th suspect Janaka Sri Chandragupta, challenged the Criminal Investigation Department alleging that they are not arresting former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella due to political favoritism and have not arrested the real culprits involved in the crime.
Six suspects including the former Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Janaka Chandragupta, were further remanded until January 10 over the alleged procurement of substandard human immunoglobulin vials.
The Magistrate had earlier ordered that all responsible parties be arrested and produced before court, irrespective of their positions, for the administration of justice over providing of substandard medicine to the public.
The suspects arrested include the former Secretary of the Ministry of Health, the Director of the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division and three other officials of the NMRA and the owner of the company which manufactured the substandard Immunoglobulin vials by forging documents.